Here in Michigan, data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that 105,157 babies were born between July 2021 and July 2022, meaning that thousands of our state families are coping with perinatal mental health (PMH) challenges today. Pregnancy and childbirth are expected to be times of joy and excitement, and so they are for many people. Yet for 1 out of 5 women and 1 out of 10 men expecting or living with a new baby, the joy is mixed with feelings of anxiety, depression, or other emotional or mental health issues during pregnancy, post-loss, or through the first 12 months of the baby’s life (the perinatal period).
In May, both World Maternal Mental Health Day and National Maternal Mental Health Week shine a light on the all-too-often hidden problem of PMH. According to Danielle Gordon (LPC, PMH-C), Chapter Liaison of PSI-MI, only about 1 in 4 people dealing with PMH challenges get treatment. “Lots of new moms say they have ‘baby blues’ after giving birth, but they feel they’re expected to get over it on their own. We know now, though, that PMH challenges can be a lot more than just feeling blue,” said Gordon. “The good news is that we have ways to support parents and other family members, and Postpartum Support International (PSI) can help them find the resources they need to get back to feeling like themselves again.”
Dr. Wendy Davis, executive director of Postpartum Support International, believes mental health is an essential component of perinatal medical care. “Even though perinatal mental health (PMH) is better understood today than in the past, screening and care for PMH conditions are not made available for far too many pregnant women, new parents, and those who have experienced pregnancy loss. The pandemic made matters worse, with many more people experiencing anxiety and depression because of isolation, health concerns, and grief over loss of loved ones to covid,” she said. “We must continue working to make treatment and other support services more accessible, to educate people about perinatal mental health, and to eliminate stigma so that expectant and new parents with PMH conditions know they are dealing with a medical issue, not a personal failing.”
PSI connects individuals and families to the resources and support needed to give them the strongest and healthiest start possible. Information on PSI MI's state chapter can be found at www.psichapters.com/mi and can provide tips, support services, and information on local resources. PSI’s national HelpLine (1-800-944-4773) connects parents, family members or friends with a range of support services, including trained volunteers, many of whom have their own personal experience with PMH. Through the PSI website (Get Help | Postpartum Support International (PSI), families can find the latest information about PMH challenges and disorders, be paired with a peer mentor, and locate treatment providers in their area. Soon-to-be and new parents coping with sadness, fear, or worry, are not alone, and support is a call or text away.
About PSI: Postpartum Support International (PSI) has been supporting perinatal mental health treatment and support for 35 years. PSI offers a wealth of resources for a wide range of needs, situations, and audiences to help give families the strongest and healthiest start possible through support and community. Additionally, PSI helps train and certify professionals who support families during pregnancy, pregnancy loss, and the postpartum period.